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MANTA IRITITJANGKU NGURA KUTJUPALAKUTU ANCIENT LAND NEW TERRITORY Aboriginal Art from the South Australian Desert


MANTA IRITITJANGKU: NGURA KUTJUPALAKUTU ANCIENT LAND : NEW TERRITORY May 31- June 28 2012 gallery nine5 24 Spring Street New York, NY Collaboration between:

Ninuku Arts South Australia, Australia

gallery nine5 Soho, New York, USA

Harvey Art Projects Sun Valley, Idaho, USA

CATALOGUE Inside cover artwork: Harry Tjutjuna Mututa Tjukurpa (detail) 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 167 x 183cm Editor: Claire Eltringham Welcome: Sébastien Le Pelletier and Julie Harvey Foreword: Tjulkiwa Atira Atira and Claire Eltringham Essay: Nici Cumpston Editorial support: Marg Bowman Design: Claire Eltringham Photography: Paul Exline, Stephen Oxenbury Copyright © Ninuku Arts Indigenous Corporation Published by Sun Valley Magazine/Mandala Media LLC Laurie C. Sammis – Publisher 111 1st Avenue North #1M, Meriwether Building, Hailey, IDAHO 83333 USA T +1 208 788 0770 E laurie@sunvalleymag.com www.sunvalleymag.com NOTE TO THE READER It is customary for some Indigenous communities not to mention the names or reproduce images of, or associated with, the recently deceased. Any text and images in this book have been reproduced with necessary permission. However, Indigenous readers are warned that the contents may include images of, and references to, deceased persons.

MANTA IRITITJANGKU NGURA KUTJUPALAKUTU ANCIENT LAND NEW TERRITORY Aboriginal Art from the South Australian Desert

HARRY TJUTJUNA JIMMY DONEGAN SANDY BRUMBY SAMUEL MILLER PUNTJINA MONICA WATSON YANGI YANGI FOX

Where there are several variations of spellings for Indigenous words, the most commonly used versions have been included or, where supplied, the preferred spelling of individual artists and the communities of Pipalyatjara and Kalka in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands.

JOSEPHINE WATJARI MICK

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

TJULKIWA ATIRA ATIRA

Ninuku Arts would like to thank Julie Harvey from Harvey Art Projects USA, Sébastien Le Pelletier and Irina Gusin from gallery nine5, Nici Cumpston from the Art Gallery of South Australia, Paul Exline Photography, Stephen Oxenbury Photography, Laurie Sammis from Mandala Media LLC, Vanessa Patterson, Marg Bowman for her editorial support, film maker Rachael Thornton, Dr Diana James for interviews and translation, John Oster, Bronwyn Taylor, Anthony Walker from Arts SA, the Office of the Arts, Ananguku Arts, Desart, Trustees of the CMV Foundation, the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation.

MOLLY NAMPITJIN MILLER YARITJI CONNELLY

A special thanks to our sponsors Arts SA and the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation.

NYANU WATSON

Ninuku Arts Indigenous Corporation is supported by the Australian Government through the Indigenous Visual Arts Support Program of the Office for the Arts in the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport.

JENNIFER MINTAYA CONNELLY


WELCOME

SÉBASTIEN LE PELLETIER Director, gallery nine5 Soho, New York City

JULIE HARVEY Director, Harvey Art Projects USA Sun Valley, Idaho

gallery nine5 is honored to be a project partner in the MANTA IRITITJANGKU: NGURA KUTJUPALAKUTU Ancient Land: New Territory project with Ninuku Arts, Harvey Art Projects USA, and the artists of the western APY lands. Working together is a step in a continuing effort to open doors to contemporary Aboriginal artwork to New York City art collectors, and the international community at large. The atmosphere is ripe for this sort of exhibition in New York. Since 1988 when the Asia Society first received acclaim for a major exhibition spotlighting Indigenous Australian artists, attention has been escalating. Throughout 2009, fifty works from the John Wilkerson collection toured the United States. Organized by the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, the exhibition Icons of the Desert: Early Aboriginal Paintings from Papunya, was notably mounted at UCLA’s Fowler Museum and New York University’s Grey Art Gallery. In Los Angeles, it was coupled with a show of Western Desert art drawn from the Kelton Foundation, which houses Los Angeles collector Richard Kelton’s more than 1,300 Australian Aboriginal paintings. In 2009 the Metropolitan Museum of Art curated its first show of contemporary Aboriginal art. Though it was displayed in the small space of a hallway, the show signaled that contemporary Aboriginal art had been accepted into the mainstream. To the western eye, the pieces could seem similar in aesthetic to Abstract Expressionism. The work is simultaneously innovative, but inherently related to tradition. It conforms to, and yet contradicts, modernism. The synthesis of a western setting, and the beautiful abstract legacy of the Aboriginal work create an interesting juxtaposition but the fit is intuitive. Though the roots of the art span generations, the artists are contemporary and work with modern day materials. It is a great pleasure for gallery nine5 to present the artists of the western APY lands to the New York City community.

This year, one of Australia’s smallest desert art centres profoundly leaves its mark on the world’s biggest stage. MANTA IRITITJANGKU: NGURA KUTJUPALAKUTU Ancient Land: New Territory is indeed a milestone for Ninuku Arts of the South Australian desert, who not only follow proudly in the footsteps of their predecessors but powerfully assert the exciting developments and innovation within the Aboriginal art movement itself. Together, this tiny group of artists boldly demonstrates why Aboriginal Art is one of the most dynamic and exciting contemporary art movements of our times. From its humble origins in the early 1970s, painting became an important political and cultural act for many Indigenous Australians. Now forty years on, Aboriginal Art is not only taking its rightful place amongst the great art movements of the 20th century, but also broadening contemporary art perspectives. Through this exhibition, Ninuku Arts show us the enduring power of Aboriginal art. They not only continue to expand greater knowledge and understanding of Australian Indigenous people, their art and culture but through this display of pure colour, vibrancy and vision, they offer us limitless interpretations on ancient themes, awakening a world of new territories.

Sébastien Le Pelletier Director

Julie Harvey Director

Artwork: Sandy Brumby Wapilka 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 107 x 61cm


FOREWORD TJULKIWA ATIRA ATIRA chairperson and senior Artist, and CLAIRE ELTRINGHAM Art Centre Manager

MAP OF AUSTRALIA

Through my painting, I am showing and teaching you about my culture, telling you my story. Those lines and dots represent the ground, the sandhills, the grass, the spinifex, the rocks and the cave found at my place, known as Arulya. It is my home. I am sharing my place with the people who are seeing my paintings.

NORTHERN TERRITORY

QUEENSLAND WESTERN AUSTRALIA

KALKA PIPALYATJARA

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

NEW SOUTH WALES

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

VICTORIA

TASMANIA

Ninuku Arts is an Indigenous owned and governed art centre located in Kalka Community in the South Australian desert. The art centre represents two communities – Kalka and Pipalyatjara – both part of the district known as the APY Lands.

Tjulkiwa Atira Atira is a senior artist and the chairperson of Ninuku Arts Indigenous Corporation. She is 61 years old. Painting – in fact, art and craft generally – has been an important part of her life for many years now. Like many Indigenous artists living in remote Australia, art is more than simply an expression or a creative process. Indigenous art centres – where many Indigenous artists in remote Australia paint – not only nurture artistic expression, but also enable the artists to share their culture through their paintings. Art centres are also a conduit for inter-generational learning and community development, and are a source of employment for local Indigenous members. Each artist has at least one Tjukurpa (Dreaming story) which is significant to them and this story is the one they mostly paint. The Tjukurpa relates to the important places or sites which are found on the artist’s particular country. These four aspects – people, art, Tjukurpa and land – are linked. As Tjulkiwa suggests in the opening quote, not only do her paintings depict the various land formations and natural qualities of her country Arulya, they also embody her connection to that place. Her paintings are a way of sharing this with others. This sharing extends beyond simply an art audience; Tjulkiwa’s interest in teaching the younger generation is profound. If I teach the younger generation, they will teach our culture to others. If we don’t teach them, they might never learn that story. That Dreaming [story of Arulya] is from a long time ago, and still today my daughter or son, my granddaughter and grandson, they might take over... I will pass my work [and my art] on to my family and they can take over that story, caring for that place [Arulya] when I am gone. My grandfather, my grandmother, their story still carries on... They taught us to hold Arulya close to our hearts and look after country. Hold onto it forever and keep it strong. This sentiment relates to all the land, including that on which the art centre stands. Ninuku Art Centre represents two communities – Pipalyatjara and Kalka – which are both located in the most north-western corner of South Australia, in a region known as the APY (Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara) Lands. This art centre is one of the most remote in the region, some 8–9 hours drive on mostly corrugated dirt roads to the nearest township. This is a place where the desert surroundings are rich with natural beauty – rocky ravines, red dirt and spiky spinifex

plants; steeped in spirit, it is home to many significant Dreaming sites for the people who reside there. The name of the art centre itself derives from ‘Ninuku Tjukurpa’, meaning Bilby Dreaming, which is the main Tjukurpa (or Dreaming story) in the country surrounding the Kalka community. This is beautifully articulated by founding director Yaritji Connelly: Our spirits have a deep attachment to the bilby. The bilby woman is our true creation ancestor and this means we have a need for her in our spirit and soul. The art centre has been in existence for less than a decade – some six years, in fact. It began in 2006, with a small group of determined and committed artists painting in an old mud-brick building. Since then the art centre has flourished. Today the artists are buzzing with anticipation, proud to be welcoming the first showing of their work in the art mecca of New York City. This success can be attributed to the same determination which burnt at the core of the art centre’s modest beginnings. Tjulkiwa’s pride in the way in which Ninuku Arts has grown is evident. This was a little art centre to begin with. There were only a few women working here at that time. And now I come here today and I am still working. Kwari paluru punu kulinpalanguru pulkaringanyi. [Now the art centre has grown up like a tree – a small tree into a big tree.] This exhibition, Manta Irititjangku: Ngura Kutjupalakutu (Ancient Land: New Territory), represents a bridge between one of the oldest continuous art movements in the world and new, unchartered territory. This is a rare opportunity for an international audience to learn more about the treasured Indigenous culture of remote Australia. This outstanding group of paintings is the largest and most impressive that the artists have ever produced. Each artist has an individual and unique voice, but as a collective choir, they come together with strength and resolution. This is an invitation to stand beside the artists upon the red soil, and feel the power of their ancient land under your feet. I’m happy now, with my painting [technique]. My paintings go all over the country, and now – and it’s a different time – they’re going overseas. When the exhibition is shown in America, I hope the people see the paintings and experience our stories, and our place. Tjulkiwa Atira Atira (chairperson and senior artist) and Claire Eltringham (Art Centre Manager) Opposite: Landscape photograph by Paul Exline Photography Artwork: Tjulkiwa Atira Atira Arulya (detail) 2012 acrylic on Belgian linen 183 x 168cm


BREAKING NEW GROUND NICI CUMPSTON Associate Curator of Australian Paintings, Sculpture and Indigenous Art Art Gallery of South Australia

I

n 2009 I was fortunate enough to travel to Pipalyatjara and Kalka to visit Ninuku Arts in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the far north-western corner of South Australia. I was on a research trip for the Desert Country exhibition that I was organising for the Art Gallery of South Australia; the trip was to meet artists and to get a sense of where they lived and created their works of art. It was spring and the weather was glorious; big blue skies opened up over dusty red-dirt roads, leading us into a rich and ancient land. The first of the wildflowers were blooming and the green and golden grasses were billowing in a soft, cool breeze. It was late afternoon when we arrived and the rocky outcrops along the Tomkinson Ranges were glowing in the changing light, shifting from a vibrant red to a glistening gold. There is a strong sense of spirit ever present in this land. As I travelled through the country I could see the vast open spaces before me but I was acutely aware of the existence of ancestral connections in each and every part of this land. This was particularly evident when we stopped along the road to take a break from driving, giving us a chance to go for a walk and have a look around. While we sat quietly under the shade of the desert oak trees having a cup of tea from the thermos, the whistling wind strongly alluded to this presence. The artists of Ninuku Arts are creating fresh and vibrant works of art that resonate with the pure essence of their homelands. The dynamic colours reflect all that is surrounding you throughout the many seasonal changes – the plants, animals and land formations that are so vital to the Anangu (the term for Aboriginal people from the area) way of life. Most importantly, imbued within the paintings are the ancient ancestral stories that relate the way Anangu are connected to, and responsible for, maintaining their cultural associations with their country. Anangu refer to this as their Tjukurpa, whereas non-Aboriginal people have given it the term ‘Dreaming’. Landscape photograph by Stephen Oxenbury Opposite: photo from research trip taken by Nici Cumpston

Most of the artists are relative newcomers to the arts industry (Ninuku Arts is only six years old), yet they are working with

great dedication and enthusiasm and as a result are creating outstanding works of art. Though the term art may be new to Anangu, they have in fact been depicting their cultural connections to country through sand paintings and the performance of Inma (cultural song and dance) for many tens of thousands of years. During these significant dance performances, unique artefacts are created and paint – made up of natural ochres and pigments – is applied to the body. Performing Inma empowers Anangu and actively maintains the continuous connections and obligations required to care for their country. Working with synthetic polymer paint on canvas is an extension of the tradition of Inma and is part of the ever-evolving nature of Aboriginal cultural expression. It is through the stories within these pulsating canvases that we are able to gain an understanding and appreciation of the unique culture and way of life of Anangu. We are very fortunate to witness this exciting new art movement, as it is also providing us with a very privileged insight into this ancient yet dynamic culture. These inspiring paintings by the Ninuku artists are luscious and captivating. Some are made with energetic free-flowing marks while others are densely filled with an intensity of dotting. The colour palettes are sophisticated and reveal all of the tones and hues that can be found in the desert. The artists are offering us works which are a celebration of their life. As a collective of works they shimmer and vibrate with the echo of the songs from their ancient land. There are several hundred artists working across the APY Lands creating works of art from a new perspective, incorporating a visual language that draws on ancient traditions while utilising contemporary materials. This has resulted in a vibrant art scene that has spread across the region and is captivating audiences around the world. Coincidently there is an exhibition currently on display at the Seattle Art Museum, Ancestral Modern: Australian Art from the Kaplan & Levi Collection. The art centres are vital to the community as they support strong cultural practices while ensuring the ethical production and sale of their works of art. They are an important meeting place where cultural knowledge is shared between generations, as they provide a space where younger people can sit and learn from their elders. They also provide ongoing employment opportunities and meaningful engagement within the visual arts industry as a whole.


“This collection of paintings by the Ninuku artists is testament to the traditions that have enabled Australian Aboriginal people to survive for tens of thousands of years, the oldest continuous culture in the world.”

W

hen I visited Ninuku Arts in 2009, Bronwyn Taylor had just resigned after working with the artists since 2006 and Wayne Eager was assisting the artists until Claire Eltringham commenced as the next manager. There were several artists painting in and around the mud brick building; Harry Tjutjuna was painting on the verandah in the bright morning light, a couple of inquisitive dogs by his side. They were watching him very closely as he sat eating a sandwich and enjoying a hot cup of tea. You could see that he was clearly not going to play their game, remaining unperturbed by their hungry gaze. A large painting of Wati Wanka (Spider Man) was in progress – a bright blue background reminiscent of the sky above, with a vibrant orange Spider Man gradually being revealed. Harry depicts a range of stories in his work. Wati Wanka, meaning Spider Man, is only one of them. For Harry, the spider is significant, as it empowers his Ngangkari (traditional healer) abilities. Harry’s paintings feature heavily in Ancient Land: New Territory. Among the group of artists at Ninuku Arts, Harry is the most senior and his paintings – created with such authority and confidence – affirm this to the viewer. In his Kungka Tjuta painting an abundance of vibrant colour underlies a layer of circular shapes – expressive deep marks in contrasting colours painted by an assured hand. Harry often paints the Kungka Tjuta story; the title simply means lots of girls – Harry cheekily describes the sprawled concentric circles representing the marks left in the sand by the girls where they have been sitting, essentially the imprint of their bottoms. Another artist I met while I was in Kalka was Samuel Miller. He was quietly and methodically working on one of his remarkable paintings inside the painting room. His works are compelling, consisting of finely dotted radiating lines of intensely bright colours. In Ngayuku Ngura, the dotted lines are painted very closely together, giving a vibrant, pulsating optical effect. These lines are interwoven with a solid white gestural brush stroke,

breaking up the composition and allowing you to rest for a moment. He is depicting his ancestral land and the creation stories that include the many sacred rockholes, creeks and hills that lie to the east of Pipalyatjara. Samuel’s paintings emulate the landscape perfectly – one can literally see the shapes and patterns pulsating from the land mirrored in his works. I was honoured to meet and spend time with Molly Nampitjin Miller in Adelaide during the Desert Country opening weekend celebrations. She spoke on behalf of her son Samuel Miller about his paintings and his passion for creating his works of art. We had included one of his paintings in this exhibition, having acquired it the year before I visited Kalka. Molly is a co-founding director of Ninuku arts and is a strong and dedicated member of the community. She is also an active artist and has an exquisite large-scale work, Mamungari Tjukurpa, in this exhibition. Her working style is deeply considered, with many layers of subtle shifting colours delicately dotted to create a compelling surface texture. It is a complex painting in which many journeys are evident within the one composition. Molly uses traditional iconography to create maps of the area or site she is depicting. Mamungari, the story she often paints, is an important women’s story. According to the creation story, a figure known as Alkuwari is the carer for her husband Kalpama, because he cannot walk. While out hunting one day, Alkuwari notices some smoke coming from their home, where Kalpama was waiting. Her grandson, who is said to be evil, had killed her husband. Alkuwari rallied a group of women and they chased the grandson. He had climbed a tree, creating a ladder by laying branches along the trunk. When the ladies found him, they followed him up the tree, but he pushed the branches to the ground and the women fell down and passed away there. This story is very important for some women in the region and is often told, both verbally and through the women’s paintings. Josephine Watjari Mick is another artist who paints this story, although she does so by creating multiple layers of soft pastel colours with different sized dots. The patterned areas meld into one another, spreading and gradually shifting. In her painting Mamungari, also featured in Ancient Land: New Territory, the

result is an organic and fluid composition applied with a delicate hand using a soft and feminine palette. Jimmy Donegan, who is also Molly Miller’s brother, is another exceptional artist. In 2010, Jimmy won the most prestigious Indigenous art prize in Australia – the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award, which is held annually. For the first time in the award’s history, Jimmy was given an award for not one but two categories – the general painting award and the overall prize award. In the prize-winning work, Jimmy depicted the story Pukara, a nearby sacred site, which has also inspired his work for Ancient Land: New Territory. Here, Jimmy has painted an unfurling diagonal black band across the canvas. Surrounding this bold line are blooming pink and red bud shapes amidst luminous green, yellow, orange and pale blue dotted masses. This painting hums with a pulsating beat. It is an absolute delight to look at and is also rich with the Dreaming story of his land. Both Jimmy Donegan and Monica Puntjina Watson paint the ancient creation story of Pukara, although each artist focusses on different parts of the story. For Jimmy, the battle between the ancestral figures – two male water snakes and the male black ants – is often the focus of his works. In another painting about Pukara, also in the exhibition, Jimmy has depicted the snake as an energetic line slithering down the canvas, with a pool of electric blue symbolising the waterhole found at this site. In a contrasting approach, Monica Puntjina Watson draws inspiration from the plants found at Pukara. As it was spring when I was visiting the region, it was an absolute joy to see the abundance of brightly coloured desert flowers breaking through the dry arid landscape. Puntjina Monica Watson is one artist who is directly inspired by the flora and fauna and, in fact, her glorious paintings tell a story about the honey grevillea plant found at Pukara. For me, her work is unique, as she manages to create a jewel-like quality across the canvas by building up the surface

with an intensity of dotting. This technique, along with the use of high-key colours, gives her works a shimmering glow. Her compositions are quirky and playful, inviting you in for further contemplation. Monica often depicts the honey grevillea plant as a border for her paintings. The curvy arches extend into the centre of the canvas, gloriously framing the work with a compelling intensity. The artist uses heavy repetition of coloured, dotted lines to give the quirky plant-like shapes a mesmerising yet austere brilliance. Equally joyous, but in an entirely different way, is the work of newcomer Sandy Brumby. According to the current manager, Claire Eltringham, Sandy only picked up his first paintbrush two years ago when he was well into his sixties. Like Monica, each canvas Sandy paints is a celebration of colour. He uses a vibrant palette and lays the colour down with intuition and conviction. His paintings are at once brave and tender. He constructs the canvas with solid, bold circular shapes and playfully dots the edges. In his painting Victory Downs, Sandy is depicting a story from his place of birth. The bush tucker (food sourced from the bush) features heavily as floating shapes, which dance around the canvas with grace, bouncing off one another as if in a game. Where Sandy chooses to leave space between these shapes, he describes this as the walpa (or wind) that naturally moves between the plants and trees. This collection of paintings by the Ninuku artists is testament to the traditions that have enabled Australian Aboriginal people to survive for tens of thousands of years, the oldest continuous culture in the world. These paintings are truly impressive works of art of great sophistication. They are dynamic, lively works that are imbued with traditional knowledge expressed in a contemporary way. These artists are dedicated and committed to sharing their culture and their paintings are highly sought after. I commend them on their achievements. Nici Cumpston, Art Gallery of South Australia Opposite: photo of Harry Tjutjuna painting by Nici Cumpston Artwork: Jimmy Donegan Pukara (detail) 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 183 x 153cm


“Through my painting, I am showing and teaching you about my culture, telling you my story. I am sharing my place with you” Tjulkiwa Atira Atira

Landscape photograph by Paul Exline Photography


HARRY TJUTJUNA Year of Birth: Place of Birth: Language: Community:

circa 1930 Walytjatjara, Northern Territory Pitjantjatjara Pipalyatjara, South Australia

H

arry Tjutjuna was born in the bush circa 1930 at a place known as Walytjatjara. This place is north-east of Pipalyatjara community, where he resides today. Harry is one of the most senior Law men of the area; few of his generation are still alive. He is also a revered artist and Ngangkari (traditional healer). A native Pitjantjatjara speaker, Harry has strong family ties to the APY Lands in South Australia, and into the west towards Warburton Ranges. As a young man, Harry moved around a lot. He lived at a place called Pukatja (Ernabella), where a mission existed for many years. It began in 1937 and was primarily established to provide medical assistance and western education to local Anangu. Harry went to school in Pukatja but he later moved on to work at a settlement, where he sank bores, did fencing and gardening and tended to the animals. He also worked as a stockman, mustering cattle for many years. Eventually Harry moved back to the far north-west with a large family, living in and around Irrunytju (Wingellina) in Western Australia, and Pipalyatjara in South Australia.

THEMES Wati Nyiru Wati Wanka Wati Ngintaka Tjukurpa Kungka Tjuta Mututa COLLECTIONS Art Gallery of New South Wales Charles Darwin University Collection Lagerberg-Swift Collection Marshall Collection National Gallery of Victoria Merenda Collection National Gallery of Australia Araluen Arts Centre Art Gallery of South Australia Lepley Collection Aboriginal Art Museum Utrecht, The Netherlands Parliament House Collection, Canberra

Harry became a full-time artist in 2005 at Ernabella Arts before moving permanently to Pipalyatjara in 2008, where he has continued painting at Ninuku Arts Centre. Harry’s knowledge of Tjukurpa (Dreaming stories) associated with the land surrounding Pipalyatjara is extensive and, due to his seniority, is unmatched by most others. He paints a range of stories including Wati Wanka (Spider Man); Wati Nyiru, the man who chases seven sisters around and eventually marries one; and Kungka Tjuta – young girls telling stories traditional way by drawing designs in the sand (milpatjunanyi). Old generation are here now and I am old generation too. Lots of old generation have passed away. What are we going to do? What happens when I pass away? New generation got to learn Tjukurpa. Harry Tjutjuna Harry’s whimsical themes, combined with his masterful use of the brush, have quickly positioned him as one of the most highly sought-after artists at Ninuku Arts and throughout Australia. He has a unique approach to painting, exhibiting a quirky representation and bold confidence.

Opposite: Portrait by Stephen Oxenbury Artwork: Harry Tjutjuna Mututa Tjukurpa (detail) 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 122 x 91cm


Harry Tjutjuna Mututa Tjukurpa 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 167 x 183cm

MUTUTA TJUKURPA This is a Dreaming story about a site near Kalka known as Mututa. A Minyma Ninu (bilby woman) was there with her family and they were all eating maku (witchetty grubs). They found the maku in the roots of different plants, from tjilka-tjilka (shrubs), punti (cassia bushes), ngarkalya (sandhill wattle) and kanturangu (desert poplar). They ate so many that there were only ngingirpa (little, immature ones) left. The Wati Mututa (ant men) got really angry because there was no good food left. They all marched together, chasing the bilby family. The army of ants punished them by spearing them. At this site today, there are clusters of black rocks set into the side of the hill – they represent the Wati Mututa or the ant men. WATI NYIRU MUNU WATI WANKA This painting depicts two Tjukurpa (Dreaming stories), as they are closely connected for the artist. Wati Nyiru This is a story about a wati (man) named Nyiru. This is Harry’s

unique interpretation of an important Tjukurpa (Dreaming story) often painted by women, known as Kungkarrakalpa (Seven Sisters Dreaming), although Harry paints this story from the perspective of the male character – Wati Nyiru. Wati Nyiru is sitting up high on a hill at Whyalla, near Port Augusta. He watches the seven sisters go into one end of a cave, and then blocks the other end so they can’t come out. But Wati Nyiru falls asleep, only to wake up and find that they have escaped. He travels around the country looking for them. He is able to track the kungka mob (group of girls), as he can see the smoke from their fire. In the story, Wati Nyiru eventually catches the youngest sister and marries her. Harry identifies strongly with this ancestral figure. Wati Wanka Harry’s depiction of a spider is common in his paintings. It represents the ancestral being with whom he most strongly identifies. His connection to the spider relates to his powers as a Ngangkari (traditional healer).

Harry Tjutjuna Wati Nyiru munu Wati Wanka 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 183 x 183cm

This is a big spider man. Wati paluru Ngangkari (a male traditional healer). He is a powerful and clever man. When rain comes, he hides in his nest. At night time, he changes colour. His name is Wati Wanka (Spider Man). Minyma wanka tjuta (referring to a group of female spiders) are the women and all the children for this man. That’s the story. I am the spider man. Harry Tjutjuna


JIMMY DONEGAN Year of Birth: Place of Birth: Language: Community:

circa 1940 Near Ngatuntjarra Bore, Western Australia Ngaanyatjarra Kalka, South Australia

J

immy was born at Yanpan, a rockhole near Ngatuntjarra Bore circa 1940. He grew up in the country surrounding Papulankutja (Blackstone) and Mantamaru (Jamieson) in Western Australia. Jimmy has strong family links throughout the APY Lands and his wife was originally from a place near Kalka. Some time ago Jimmy took his wife and children to live at Papulankutja (Blackstone) because of his deep connection to that country. He is now widowed and has returned to Kalka community to live with his children, and to be closer to his sister, Molly Nampitjin Miller, who is a founding director of Ninuku Arts. Jimmy is a skilled wood craftsman – his spears, spear throwers and boomerangs are prized and much sought after. He is also a strong cultural man, involved in traditional law and ceremony. In August 2010, Jimmy Donegan won the most prestigious art prize in Australia – the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (known as the Telstra Award). He was the winner of two sections – the General Painting category and the overall prize. Like much of Donegan’s work over the past decade, the award winning painting is solemn and emphatic in its design, but dazzlingly illuminated. The artist’s technique is to compose the colour lines of his canvases from thousands of large dots in different hues, which blend into a whole. Nicolas Rothwell, The Weekend Australian, August 2010. THEMES Pukara Papa Tjukurpa Yanpan COLLECTIONS Artbank Collection National Gallery of Victoria Laverty Collection Corrigan Collection Marshall Collection Merenda Collection University of Western Sydney Thomas Vroom Collection, The Netherlands Lagerberg-Swift Collection Opposite: Portrait by Stephen Oxenbury Artwork: Jimmy Donegan Pukara (detail) 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 91 x 61cm


Opposite: Jimmy Donegan Pukara 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 183 x 153cm Above: Jimmy Donegan Pukara 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 122 x 91cm

PUKARA Jimmy paints the Tjukurpa (Dreaming story) from an important site known as Pukara, south-west of Irrunytju (Wingellina community) in Western Australia. It is a story of Wati Kutjara Wanampi (two male water serpents) – a father and son – who are living at a waterhole. According to the story, Anangu tjuta (lots of people) went to that rockhole for the kapi (water), which is said to taste sweet. This upset the father and he told them to go back to their own country. Once the people left, the father and son travelled to Willuna, where they camped for weeks. They then return to Pukara. One day they were sleeping, but were awoken by a loud buzzing sound. The Minyma Punpunpa (the female flies) had been attracted to the honey grevillea plants found near the waterhole. It prompted the father and son to get up and go to collect the honey from the plants. It is there that the Wati Mututa (male black ants) appeared. They speared the son in his side. When the son started vomiting, he produced the seeds of all the different varieties of honey grevillea plants that are still found there today. They include kaliny-kalinypa, ultukunpa, piruwa and witjinti.


SANDY BRUMBY Year of Birth: Place of Birth: Language: Community:

circa 1950 Victory Downs, Northern Territory Yankunytjatjara Pipalyatjara, South Australia

S

andy Brumby was born in the bush at Victory Downs, an outstation near Pukatja (Ernabella). He grew up there with his mother, father, brother and sister. As a ‘young fella’, he worked at Mount Cavanagh, a cattle station near Kulgera in the Northern Territory. He was a stockman there, mustering bullocks, fencing, and tending to the cattle. Sandy met his wife, Tjukapati Nola Brumby, in Pukatja, and from there they moved to Amata community for some time. Eventually they settled in Pipalyatjara, where they had two children – a boy and a girl. Sandy has been in the Pipalyatjara area for a long time, since before Kalka and Pipalyatjara communities were fully established. In 2010, in his sixties, Sandy Brumby picked up a paint brush for the first time, and he has come to the art centre religiously ever since, having discovered a passion for paint and a strong need to tell his story. The iconography in his work is reminiscent of symbols that are sometimes seen in rock or cave paintings around Uluru and Kata Tjuta. His paintings are raw and bold, demonstrating a strong connection to his country and his culture. He has a deep love of colour and uses a broad palette when he paints, selecting – with natural intuition – colours that sing beautifully together. Sandy Brumby’s approach to telling his story through art is highly individual. Although his paintings are simple in composition and raw in their application of paint, his brush strokes are quite delicate, belying the astoundingly powerful spirit in his painting. In the relatively short period of time he has been painting, his works have been acquired by significant public collections, including the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) and QAG (Queensland Art Gallery). THEMES Victory Downs Kulitja COLLECTIONS National Gallery of Victoria Queensland Art Gallery Artbank Collection Sir James and Lady Cruthers Collection

Opposite: Portrait by Stephen Oxenbury Artwork: Sandy Brumby Pukara (detail) 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 122 x 91cm


Sandy Brumby Victory Downs 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 153 x 167cm

Sandy Brumby Kulitja 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 183 x 167cm

VICTORY DOWNS This is a story about my father’s country, Victory Downs, near Pukatja community. Lots of women were at this site collecting kampurara (bush tomatoes). A man came along and asked the women for the mai (food) but the women didn’t give him any. So the man had no mai. After the man left, the women fed all the mai to the tjitji (children) until they were full. The man came back again and the group travelled together to Pangkulpiri, which is near Tjukurla and close to the country where Sandy Brumby’s mother was born.

KULITJA This story is about a place called Kulitja, in Yankunytjatjara country close to Victory Downs. There are many rockholes at this site and it is the home of a Wati Wanampi (male water serpent). He is looking around for kuka (meat) and mai (bushtucker) such as kampurara (bush tomato) and wayanu (quandong). One day, another water serpent comes to this place. The wati wanampi fights him and he runs away. After that, the Wati Wanampi eats the food, curls up and goes to sleep, forming a large rockhole that is still there today. This is the home of the Wati Wanampi (male water serpent).


SAMUEL MILLER Year of Birth: Place of Birth: Language: Community:

1966 Pukatja, South Australia Pitjantjatjara Kalka, South Australia

S

amuel Miller was born in 1966 at Ernabella Mission. When Samuel’s mother passed away, his father’s second wife, Molly Nampitjin Miller, cared for him. Molly is a founding director of Ninuku Arts. When growing up, Samuel moved between Amata and Pipalyatjara, but he now resides in Kalka with Molly and the rest of her family. A committed member of Ninuku Arts, Samual usually paints every day. His paintings depict the traditional iconography of his land, which lies to the east of Pipalyatjara – rockholes, creeks and hills feature in his work, all immersed in Tjukurpa (Dreaming stories). Samuel’s paintings are mesmerising. His composition is minimalist and he makes extensive use of radiating colours, which are largely drawn from the varying colours in the landscape surrounding his country. He is fastidious in his approach and works with a large number of paint colours, which he spreads out around him as he paints. Although he is one of the youngest men painting at the art centre, Samual is confident and focussed in his approach. THEMES Ngayuku Ngura (My Place) Ninuku Tjukurpa COLLECTIONS Artbank Collection Art Gallery of South Australia NGAYUKU NGURA Ngayuku Ngura means ‘My Place’. Samuel uses an extensive palette of colours to paint the country surrounding Kalka and Pipalyatjara. His paintings feature the various land formations from that area – rockholes, creeks and hills. His land is a sacred men’s rockhole, so sacred that the name is not allowed to be written down or spoken about. Portrait by Paul Exline Photography Artwork: Samuel Miller Ngayuku Ngura 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 183 x 167cm


Left: Harry Tjutjuna Kungka Tjuta 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 91 x 61cm Right: Jimmy Donegan Pukara 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 91 x 61cm

Left: Sandy Brumby Victory Downs 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 91 x 61cm Right: Samuel Miller Ngayuku Ngura 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 91 x 61cm


Image of Molly Nampitjin Miller taken near Kalka. Photograph by Paul Exline Photography.


PUNTJINA MONICA WATSON Year of Birth: Place of Birth: Language: Community:

P

untjina, also known as Monica, was born circa 1940 at Pukara, an important rockhole and water snake Tjukurpa (Dreaming story) site in Western Australia. As a young girl, she walked to Pukatja (Ernabella) with her father and his three wives – the youngest of them was celebrated artist Wingu Tingima. When she was a bit older, Puntjina worked in the craft room at Pukatja, but she then married Wimitja Watson – a Ngangkari (traditional healer) – and moved with him to Amata, where they had many children. The family wanted to be closer to their home land so during the homelands movement (an initiative to enable Anangu to return to their own country) in the late 1970s they moved to Pipalyatjara. Puntjina is an important elder in Pipalyatjara, where she continues to live with her husband and family. Both she and her husband are heavily involved in cultural business and travel across much of the area to participate in it. Puntjina has become known for her vibrant use of colour, particularly an iconic, high-key yellow. She also has a quirky approach to composition, often framing her paintings with an intricate border created by a plethora of coloured dots. Puntjina is a committed artist, painting every day at Ninuku Arts and has established herself as one of the centre’s leading artists.

circa 1940 Pukara, Western Australia Pitjantjatjara Pipalyatjara, South Australia

PUKARA This is a story about kaliny-kalinypa (honey grevillea plant), which Anangu use as a type of bush lolly, sucking the nectar out of the plant. In the Tjukurpa (Dreaming story) a father and son, Wati Kutjara Wanampi (two male water snakes), are living at Pukara, an important waterhole site near Irrunytju (Wingellina). Because of the kaliny-kalinypa which is found at the site the water there has a sweet taste and lots of people go there to access it. But father Wati Wanampi doesn’t like this and he tells them to go back to their own country. The people leave and the father and son travel to Willuna, where they camp for weeks. When they return to Pukara, they are awoken by a buzzing sound. Minyma Punpunpa (the female flies) are making lots of noise as they buzz around the honey bush. This prompts the father and son to get up to go and collect honey. While they are doing this, Wati Mututa (black ant) finds the father and son, and spears the son in his side. The young son starts spitting and he spits up the yellow and orange seeds of all the different types of honey grevillea. These plants can still be found at this site today. There is a big variety of honey grevillea plants including kaliny-kalinypa, ultunkunpa, piruwa and witjinti.

THEMES Pukara Wirku Wirku COLLECTIONS Artbank Collection Art Gallery of South Australia Art Gallery of New South Wales Parliament House Collection, Canberra National Gallery of Australia Sir James and Lady Cruthers Collection

Opposite: Portrait by Stephen Oxenbury Artwork: Puntjina Monica Watson Pukara (detail) 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 91 x 61cm


Puntjina Monica Watson Wirku Wirku 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 88 x 101cm

Puntjina Monica Watson Pukara 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 183 x 153cm


YANGI YANGI FOX Year of Birth: Placeof Birth: Language: Community:

1956 Pukatja, South Australia Pitjantjatjara Pipalyatjara, South Australia

Y

angi Yangi Fox (often referred to as Mrs Fox) was born in 1956 in Pukatja (Ernabella). As a young girl, she went to school at Ernabella Mission, and later moved to the cattle station near the Amata community. During the homelands movement in the 1970s, she moved to Pipalyatjara to be closer to her family. Mrs Fox is a senior woman in the Pipalyatjara community and holds a position at the local health clinic. She is also an astute craftswoman and is an expert in punu (wood carving); she is a celebrated dancer and is heavily involved in culture and ceremony. Her two daughters, Renae and Tanisha, are both practising artists. Mrs Fox has a meticulous way of dotting and composing a painting which reveals her unique aesthetic, especially in contrast to the other female artists. Her tightly dotted technique and formal compositions create an optical feast for the viewer – her paintings waiver and radiate in simplistic elegance. THEMES Wati Ngintaka Tjukurpa COLLECTIONS Parliament House Collection, Canberra Peter Klein Collection, Germany WATI NGINTAKA TJUKURPA This is a story about Wati Ngintaka Tjukurpa (perentie lizard man creation story). That Wati Ngintaka (lizard man) heard the clapping sound of a beautiful grinding stone – a traditional tool used for grinding seeds. He wanted that stone for himself, so he travelled from Aran a long way east towards Wayatina, looking for the stone. He spotted Anangu tjuta (lots of Aboriginal people) at a camp. Some of the people gave him mai (food) in the form of a seed cake, but it was dry and he didn’t like it. Then one lady gave him delicious food and he knew that it had been made with seeds ground on the special grinding stone. He spied the grinding stone and stole it, hiding it in under his tail. When they all went hunting the next day, Wati Ngintaka stayed in camp, saying he had sore feet. Once they were gone, it was safe and he left, stealing the grinding stone. All the people were angry with the Wati Ngintaka and chased him. When they caught him they felt all over his body to see where he was hiding the grinding stone, but couldn’t find it. Wati Ngintaka held up his arms and claimed he didn’t have it, but they saw he was hiding it, wipungka (in his tail). They speared the Wati Ngintaka and retrieved the grinding stone. He passed away at a place called Aran in the Northern Territory. Ngaltutjara (poor thing).

Portrait by Paul Exline Photography Artwork: Yangi Yangi Fox Wati Ngintaka Tjukurpa 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 183 x 110cm


JOSEPHINE WATJARI MICK Year of Birth: Place of Birth: Language: Community:

1955 Pukatja, South Australia Pitjantjatjara Pipalyatjara, South Australia

Josephine Watjari Mick Mamungari 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 153 x 122cm

J

osephine Watjari Mick was born in 1955 to revered artist Kuntjiriya Mick, at a site near Pukatja (Ernabella). She grew up mostly in the eastern APY Lands and has strong family ties in this area. When she was a young girl, Josephine had a vivid dream in which she saw a bright tongue of fire. In the dream, she walked towards the fire and thought she had burnt her hands, but when she woke up, she realised her hands were hot. Shortly after, Josephine started working as a Ngangkari (traditional healer). She believes that her dream had given her the power to do so. She has mostly focussed her healing work on women and children. During the homelands movement of the 1970s, Josephine moved to Pipalyatjara, where she still resides today. As well as being a Ngangkari (traditional healer), Josephine is very involved in cultural business. She is also an active member in the Ninuku Arts Centre and has held the role of director several times. Josephine’s painting style is distinctive to say the least. Her works take an unusually long time to create, due to the thick layering of dots she creates in a variety of sizes and colours. Her palette is inspired by the desert flowers and plants from the area. THEMES Arulya Mamungari

MAMUNGARI This is an ancestral story about Minyma Tjuta (lots of women spirits). Kalpama and Alkuwari – husband and wife – lived in a nest in a tree. Kalpama could not walk so he relied on his wife Alkuwari to go hunting for him. One day his evil grandson came by. When the grandson looked up, he noticed water coming down and, upon further inspection, he noticed it was Kalpama urinating. He became angry and got a firestick, lighting the tree and burning the nest where Kalpama lived. Alkuwari was out hunting for kuka (meat), but she noticed the smoke coming from Kalpama’s nest. She knew straight away that her evil grandson had burnt down the tree. She travelled to a place south-west of Watarru called Mamungari. There she started crying incessantly and called out to the Minyma (female spirit relatives) to come and help her. When the Minyma arrived, they all travelled back to where the boy was. He had made a long ladder out of branches and had climbed up a tree, where he was hiding. When the women tried to climb up towards him, the boy pushed the ladder down and all the spirit women fell down onto the ground. This is a minyma (women’s) site, where the ancestors still live today. Portrait by Paul Exline Photography


TJULKIWA ATIRA ATIRA Year of Birth: Place of Birth: Language: Community:

1951 Watarru, South Australia Pitjantjatjara Pipalyatjara, South Australia

T

julkiwa was born in 1951 at Watarru, in South Australia. Her mother is the late Kuntjiriya Mick, a celebrated artist of her time. Her father’s country is Kuntjanu, near Watarru, and her mother is from Walytjatjara in the Northern Territory. Tjulkiwa went to school in Pukatja (Ernabella) during the mission times. After finishing her schooling, she met her husband in Pukatja and they had two children. She also spent time in Fregon and Itjinpiri homeland, near Umuwa. That was her husband’s ngura (place of birth). She and her husband had six children. She is now widowed and lives in Pipalyatjara with some of her family. Tjulkiwa is an astute and respected member of the Pipalyatjara community. She is fluent in English and Pitjantjatjara, which serves as a handy tool for translating in the art centre, where she is also chairperson. She has always worked in arts and crafts, first at Pukatja (Ernabella), then Fregon, and now at Ninuku Arts, where she paints daily. The time Tjulkiwa spent in Pukatja is evident in her work – she is a natural colourist and her work is reminiscent of the beautiful decorative style for which Pukatja (Ernabella) is renowned. She paints the story of her grandfather’s country, known as Arulya. THEMES Arulya

COLLECTIONS Art Gallery of South Australia Peter Klein Collection, Germany Lepley Collection ARULYA Tjulkiwa paints two Tjukurpa (Dreaming stories) for the place called Arulya. It is a beautiful place with a cave called Kuruyiti. According to one story, some children are hiding in the cave because there is a big rain coming. Their big brother is waiting outside, eating and sleeping, but he will not come inside. When the storm comes, the hail stones come down hard and they kill the big brother, as he is not protected. This is a creation story – it has affected the landscape. You can see this cave when you visit the site. Another creation story from this place is Wati Tjakura (an edible skink lizard). The Wal Mala (army of male snakes) and the Wati Wanampi (male water snake) from a waterhole site known as Malara came together in battle and threw spears at Wati Tjakura. He tried to escape but they killed him, and his family came down to bury him. Portrait by Bronwyn Taylor Artwork: Tjulkiwa Atira Atira Arulya 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 183 x 168cm


MOLLY NAMPITJIN MILLER Year of Birth: Place of Birth: Language: Community:

M

olly Nampitjin Miller was born ‘a bush baby’, circa 1948. She moved to Warburton Mission when she was a girl, living in a dormitory with a group of other girls while the rest of her family stayed in the nearby camp. Later she married and moved with her husband to Amata, where she had five children. Molly is a strong presence as co-founding director for Ninuku Arts, as well as a respected elder within the Kalka community. She comes from a strong artistic family; her sisters are Dr Pantjiti Mary McLean and Elaine Lane from Blackstone and her brother is fellow Ninuku artist, Jimmy Donegan (Telstra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award Winner, 2010). Molly uses traditional iconography to create her depictions of both sacred sites and the places where she spent time as a child. She paints in a considered manner, placing the dots on her canvas with precision and a steady hand. Molly works in layers, often creating colour shifts by dipping her brush or stick into two paint pots before touching the surface. This adds depth and perspective to her compositions and calmly and peacefully invites the viewer into her painting. THEMES Mamu Tjukurpa Mamungari Ngintaka and Tjilkamata Ninuku Tjukurpa COLLECTIONS Artbank Collection Peter Klein Collection, Germany Flinders University Art Museum Merenda Collection

circa 1948 Papulankutja, Western Australia Pitjantjatjara Kalka, South Australia

MAMUNGARI This is an ancestral story about Minyma Tjuta (lots of women spirits). Kalpama and Alkuwari – husband and wife – lived in a nest in a tree. Kalpama could not walk so he relied on his wife Alkuwari to go hunting for him. One day his evil grandson came by. When the grandson looked up, he noticed water coming down and, upon further inspection, he noticed it was Kalpama urinating. He became angry and got a firestick, lighting the tree and burning the nest where Kalpama lived. Alkuwari was out hunting for kuka (meat), but she noticed the smoke coming from Kalpama’s nest. She knew straight away that her evil grandson had burnt down the tree. She travelled to a place south-west of Watarru called Mamungari. There she started crying incessantly and called out to the Minyma (female spirit relatives) to come and help her. When the Minyma arrived, they all travelled back to where the boy was. He had made a long ladder out of branches and had climbed up a tree, where he was hiding. When the women tried to climb up towards him, the boy pushed the ladder down and all the spirit women fell down onto the ground. This is a minyma (women’s) site, where the ancestors still live today.

Opposite: Portrait by Paul Exline Photography Artwork: Molly Nampitjin Miller Mamungari (detail) 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 91 x 61cm


Molly Nampitjin Miller Mamungari 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 110 x 183cm


YARITJI CONNELLY Year of Birth: Place of Birth: Language: Community:

circa 1946 Malara Rockhole, South Australia Pitjantjatjara Kalka, South Australia

A

t the time of Yaritji Connelly’s birth, many Indigenous Australians who lived in remote Australia were not born in a hospital. In Yaritji’s case, she was born in the bush at an important cultural site called Malara Rockhole, the place of the Wanampi Tjukurpa (Water Serpent Dreaming). Her father’s country is Inarki and her mother’s place is Anumarapiti. As a young girl, Yaritji walked with her family to Warburton Mission in Western Australia, where she spent some time at school. Her father became homesick and consequently moved back home with his family. Yaritji is now a proud member of Kalka community in South Australia, where she lives with her extended family. She is one of the founding directors of Ninuku Arts and has been instrumental in the success and the strong governance of the centre. Yaritji is also a highly respected cultural woman who demonstrates great leadership during ceremony. The story she paints the most is Malara Tjukurpa, which is her place of birth. She uses a rolling repetition of arches to depict the coil of the powerful water serpent. Yaritiji leans towards a palette of punchy and complex colours, often choosing reds, oranges, yellows and greens. She puts them together with elegance and simplicity, occasionally tinting the colours to create subtle colour shifts. THEMES Malara Tjukurpa Ngintaka Tjukurpa COLLECTIONS Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane Artbank Collection Flinders University Art Museum Lagerberg-Swift Collection Marshall Collection Parliament House Collection, Canberra Peter Klein Collection, Germany MALARA This is a creation story about an ancestral figure known as Wati Wanampi (male water snake), who lived at a waterhole site known at Malara. The Wanampi gathered a group of men together to go out hunting for kuka (meat). While they were out looking for meat, another group of male water snakes known as the Wal Mala (an army of soldier snakes who came from a place called Mutitjulu) recruited them into their army. The group joined forces and travelled to a site known as Kuntjanu, where they engaged in a battle with Wati Tjakura (an edible skink lizard). They speared Wati Tjakura and killed him. The group then returned to Malara, where they rest today at the waterhole.

Portrait by Paul Exline Photography Artwork: Yaritji Connelly Malara 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 153 x 122cm


NYANU WATSON Year of Birth: Place of Birth: Language: Community:

1951 Itjinpiri, South Australia Pitjantjatjara Kalka, South Australia

N

yanu was born at a site near Pukatja (Ernabella). As a young girl, she worked at the mission, spinning and dyeing wools to make rugs. She later moved to the neighbouring community of Amata, where she began work in the local store and cooked food for the children at the school. During the homelands movement, Nyanu travelled to Kalka, where she still lives today. As well as being an avid craftswoman – mostly wood carving and grass weaving – Nyanu is a regular painter at the art centre and is a prominent member of Ninuku Arts.

THEMES Ngintaka Tjulpu (bird) Ipuru (spinifex pigeon) Waru (black-footed rock wallaby) COLLECTIONS Artbank Collection Parliament House Collection, Canberra Martin Copley Collection Lagerberg-Swift Collection Sir James and Lady Cruthers Collection

Nyanu is known for her unusual depictions of various animals found in the area surrounding Kalka. She uses a combination of brushwork and dotting to create the highly stylised and unique creatures for which she has become known. Some of her favourites KURPARU KUTJARA include the ngintaka (perentie), anumara (type of caterpillar), and This is a painting of two Kurparu (Magpie) – a native bird found in Australia. kakalyalya (pink cockatoo).

Opposite: Portrait by Stephen Oxenbury Artwork: Nyanu Watson Kuparu Kutjara 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 91 x 122cm


JENNIFER MINTAYA CONNELLY Year of Birth: Place of Birth: Language: Community:

1964 Mulga Park, Northern Territory Pitjantjatjara Kalka, South Australia

Portrait by Claire Eltringham Artwork: Jennifer Mintaya Connelly Kungkarangkalpa 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 183 x 153cm

J

ennifer was born at Mulga Park. She has seven children, and although they are now grown up, she is a busy woman, as she is primary carer for several of her grandchildren. Jennifer has been working in the remote media industry off and on for 10 years, in Pipalyatjara, Irrunytju (Wingellina) and Umuwa. She is a skilled camera person and editor, and has painted for both Ninuku Arts in Kalka, and Kayili Arts in Patjarr community. Jennifer’s time at Patjarr in Western Australia has informed her fluid and organic painting style. She is a natural colourist and most commonly depicts the Kungkarrakalpa Tjukurpa (or Seven Sisters Dreaming). She uses two implements – a brush and punu (small stick) – to create her compositions. Her paintings have great depth, which is created by the layers in her work, with some of her shapes appearing to float on the surface of the canvas. The colours she uses (and there are often many) flow into one another to create a blended effect.

THEMES Kungkarrakalpa Tjukurpa (Seven Sisters Dreaming) COLLECTIONS Peter Klein Collection, Germany KUNGKARRAKALPA (SEVEN SISTER’S DREAMING) This is a major Tjukurpa for Irrunytju (Wingellina) and across the central Australian deserts. The seven sisters travelled from Kaliwarra to Wannan in Western Australia, stopping at significant sites and rockholes including Kuruala, a sacred place for women. They encountered a lustful man named Wati Nyiru, who chased them around the desert. The big circles in this painting represent the elder sisters, and the little circles represent the little sisters. The two groups of sisters are travelling separately. Some of the details of this Tjukurpa (Dreaming story) are sacred and can’t be repeated.


MANTA IRITITJANGKU NGURA KUTJUPALAKUTU ANCIENT LAND NEW TERRITORY Aboriginal Art from the South Australian Desert Proudly presented by the all the artists and staff of Ninuku Arts Indigenous Corporation including Molly Nampitjin Miller (Founding Director and Executive), Yaritji Connelly (Founding Director and Executive), Tjulkiwa Atira Atira (Chairperson), Josephine Watjari Mick (Executive Director), Yangi Yangi Fox (Executive Director), Monica Puntjina Watson (Executive Director), Sandy Brumby (Executive Director), Harry Tjutjuna (senior artist), Jimmy Donegan (senior artist), Jennifer Mintaya Connelly, Samuel Miller, and Claire Eltringham (Art Centre Manager), Vanessa Patterson (Studio Manager).

Project Sponsors

Arts SA

James & Diana Ramsay Foundation

Ninuku Arts Kalka Community PMB 65 via Alice Springs NT 0872 AUSTRALIA T +61 (0)8 8954 8054 E ninuku@bigpond.com www.ninukuarts.com.au

With special thanks to

Project Partners

Ninuku Arts Indigenous Corporation is supported by the Australian Government through the Indigenous Visual Arts Support Program of the Office for the Arts in the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport. Ninuku Arts Indigenous Corporation is also a member of the Indigenous Art Code.

Harvey Art Projects USA Julie Harvey – Director 391 First Avenue North Ketchum, IDAHO 83340 USA T +1 208 309 8676 E info@harveyartprojects.com www.harveyartprojects.com

gallery nine5 Sébastien Le Pelletier – Director 24 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012 USA T +1 212 965 9995 E info@gallerynine5.com www.gallerynine5.com

Ninuku Arts would also like to acknowledge the ongoing support of gallery partners Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne;
Aboriginal and Pacific Art, Sydney;
Raft Artspace, Alice Springs; Chapman Gallery, Canberra; Tony Bond Aboriginal Art, Adelaide; Short Street Gallery, Broome; Outstation Gallery, Darwin; Tunbridge Gallery, Margaret River; Maruku Arts, Uluru; Putipula Gallery, Noosa; ReDot Fine Art Gallery, Singapore; Art Kelch, Germany; and Harvey Art Projects USA.

Artwork: Yangi Yangi Fox Wati Ngintaka Tjukurpa 2011 acrylic on Belgian linen 183 x 110cm Images on previous pages, left to right, top to bottom: Sandy Brumby painting in studio, photo Claire Eltringham; paint pots, photo Karen Cromwell; dog at art centre, photo Claire Eltringham; portrait of Harry Tjutjuna, photo Paul Exline Photography; painted wall, photo Karen Cromwell; studio interior, photo Claire Eltringham; landscape, photo Karen Cromwell; painted hands, photo Karen Cromwell; landscape, photo Paul Exline Photography; portrait of Yaritji Connelly, photo Paul Exline Photography; Tjanpi sculptures of birds by Tjulkiwa Atira Atira, photo Claire Eltringham; Ninuku Arts studio, photo Claire Eltringham.


“To hold onto it forever and keep it strong.� Tjulkiwa Atira Atira


Ninuku Artists NYC 2012  

Ninuku Arts is a wholly-Indigenous owned and governed Art Centre which supports artists from two communities - Pipalyatjara and Kalka. Both...